Thanksgiving Away from Home

Noisy cousins and a busy kitchen, seasoned turkey and clinking plates: this is Thanksgiving. But, not exactly… I have the privilege of staying at college, for work, during Thanksgiving break. Things are anything but noisy and there are no smells of garlic-infused mashed potatoes or trays of sweets in the fridge. Tuesday night was the worst, it was the first night being alone. I had nothing to do, no one to talk to, and no where to go. Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic. I could’ve worked on homework (even though it’s not due until mid-December), I could’ve talked to Mom or Dad on the phone (neither of them answered my calls, lol), and I guess I could’ve walked the halls? I’m not allowed to leave the residential building past 9pm, so my options became limited. After journaling my feelings of complete and utter loneliness, a feeling I had a hard time describing because I’ve never felt it before, I did feel a bit of an emotional release. I also read a devotional and journaled out my findings. Girl, Wash Your Face took up much of my time, yet I ended up going to bed before 10pm, not complaining!

Wednesday was much easier, I occupied myself with Netflix, Youtube, cleaning, and homework. I started my morning with a much-needed session on God’s word. I followed up with a trail run to free my endless thoughts into nature. Sitting at the front desk gave me a reason to leave my room and kept me motivated to do my homework– I struggle to complete anything while in my room. That evening wasn’t as lonely, but I still felt odd without socializing the whole day. 

Happy Thanksgiving! Today brings together the joy of family and the dinner table. I decided to give my body a rest and skip my run this morning. I was going to do some yoga/stretching, but I put on my jeans too soon and decided to leave it at that. Spent time reading scripture while eating breakfast. I had some anxiety this morning as I ate some lightly-cooked bell pepper with my scrambled eggs. I finally decided to pause from reading Nehemiah to dig deeper into why I’m feeling anxious. I discovered it’s because of the bell peppers. Yup. The last time I ate cooked bell peppers, I had norovirus. Sorry to ruin your Thanksgiving meal, but cooked bell peppers were the first thing I puked up and the they are the scent that’s engraved into my memory. This was just three weeks ago. After two bites, throwing the rest away, and a couple hours of digesting, my anxious feelings are gone. I am working on placing my trust in the Lord that He will keep my body working properly through the yummy foods and the stomach-churning lies in my head. 

enjoy this blurry picture captured by my professional photographer, Geoff, on his iPhone Z (Thanksgiving in Haake). 

After getting some homework done at the front desk, it was then time for the long-awaited Thanksgiving meal! My friend Mykayla came because she is actually here over break too! When looking at the big picture and maybe putting in some effort, things aren’t so lonely after all (I have two friends in my small group that happen to be in Winona also!). We ate our meal around 1:30pm, just the four of us. This is the first Thanksgiving that I didn’t feel uncomfortably stuffed after. Sure, we had plenty of food, and our plates were big enough to over-proportion, but I’ve been praying for self-control. I have been asking God to keep my thoughts about food on how it’s fuel for my body and that it brings people together. I want my feelings of indulgence and temporary pleasure, or even my thoughts of oh, this is only one day a year(an excuse), to subside and be replaced with thoughts of thankfulness. You know what they say, you don’t get a second body after this one is ruined. I also want my love for God to show even through my eating. This means eating what I need to stay energized and healthy, but keeping in mind that a piece of pie (with extra whip) is not a sin. 

After chatting and eating, Mykayla headed out and I showed Dad and Amy my beloved, so beloved, running trail. I didn’t plan on showing them the single tracks because those are more of hiking trails, but that’s the way we somehow ended up going. I thought I knew the trail we were on, but as we went farther up, I started second guessing myself. I would then reassure myself by, once again, telling myself oh, I know where we are now! Turns out, I had no idea where we were or how to get back. We actually decided to go off-trail (bad, bad hiking etiquette!) and straight down–that was the only way out, folks. Yup, hands got muddy, shoes got snowy, heart got poundy. 

Found a cute moss-covered tree arching over our trail. Geoff! Photo-op! 

We finally made it back to the car around 3:30pm. Packed up the back seat with leftovers and hugged goodbye. I am beyond thankful for the way life works. How perfectly things turn out when I can’t come home for a holiday, Dad and Amy have the time and money to visit me, and I can show them a piece of my heart that Winona holds onto? My fridge is stocked with leftovers and the sun is setting into a clear November sky. And God? Oh, He’s here. He’s been here the whole time, watching His plan unfold.

Geoff and I pose for a selfie. Snowy chucks and triple chins. 

2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Away from Home”

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